Moving to Thunder Bay
Author: Ghina T.
Instructor: Natasha A.
Photo Credit: alekstaurus / 123RF Stock Photo
Article ID: 2138 [Settlement- Spring 2021]
One of the electoral promises of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was to invite refugees fleeing from the civil war in Syria to Canada. After the elections, Trudeau quickly fulfilled his promises to settle 25,000 Syrian refugees. In 2016, Redwood Park Church and our relative sponsored my family to move to Canada. My family arrived in Thunder Bay. My family was one of only two Syrian families in Thunder Bay. My parents wanted to be financially independent and successful in Canada to show us that we can achieve anything we want in this new country. My parents, with the help of our relative, opened a Syrian take out restaurant called Damascus Donner within their first twelve months in the city. Damascus Donner is named after the Syrian capital city where we were born. The menu included donner, shawarma, hummus, baba ghanoush, kibbeh, grape leaves, sujok, mekanek, and fattoush salad. Many government officials such as Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, Harjit Sajjan, Minister of Nation Defense, and Kathleen Wynne, Member of the Ontario Liberal Party, had enjoyed food from my parents’ restaurant and my father has many photographs with these important dignitaries. Customers always said my parents were the kindest most wonderful, friendly people who own it, with amazing delicious food, and the best salad they had ever tested and ever had in Thunder Bay. They also said the service was excellent. This restaurant became very popular very quickly as you can imagine because Thunder Bay never had any food like this. Canadians learned what real Syrian food is from Damascus Donner and it became popular quickly. Even soldiers came because it’s clean and healthy food. Unfortunately, for personal reason my family moved to the Niagara region but they hope to once again open Damascus Donner and share the wonderful Syrian food with the people of Niagara.